Running right, Out West, Friday, September 13, 2019

James Lee

I thought I’d run hills today, so headed out West. I felt pretty good and the sun was shining. Somehow it became the run I got right.

Crossing town is pretty flat tarmac and grass, so roughly 7 minute miles. After half a mile I stopped to sort my socks out and tighten my laces. Then I just went for it, even though I wanted to run 10 miles or so. Some time ago Lisa Evette’s post showed a heart rate average well above anything I ever get – was I pushing it hard enough? Then there was a side effect of the Pilates – suddenly I could breathe faster than every two steps without getting a stitch. The core of my body really does connect to everything, it seems. It just took a few decades to find out.

Ring road and out to Bearpark Hall Farm. Crops harvested, gate open and what looks like a Grand Designs project all going well. Down to the River Browney then up – and up – to the top of Bearpark. Climbing has always been my weak point. Mile 12 of the Skipton trail half marathon proved that for 16 minutes. That was so wrong I finally asked Elaine about the steep climbs. She suggested I should try shortening my stride with a higher frequency. I tried that on her killing field session on Wednesday but I was still slower than some. At the end I thought I had too much left – and the average heart rate agreed. So this time I went for a frequency that felt bonkers – and kept the mile below 8 minutes.

Back down the same path to the Browney. Descent is not a rest – I think I read that somewhere – so when it wasn’t crazy steep I pushed it. Off-road, everything but the ground disappeared – those next few steps were all that could be processed. Avoiding branches relied on instinct. Speed was what mattered, not my quads.

Along the path by the Browney it was ‘just keep going’. The music helped – my son’s Now That’s What I Call Pop kept the mood right. Then there was the climb to Witton Gilbert and beyond. Keeping the stride when it wasn’t too steep; that frequency again when it was. Pushing it on those brief dips; keeping my feet down on the little steps; enjoying the view as it flattened at the top, looking back over the valley to Bearpark. Round the trig point (can’t turn down before that!) and back to the A691.

Then the footpath back to town. Fields, stiles without a stop, then faster tarmac. Picking up the pace quarter of a mile out; a final sprint across the grass. 10.8 miles, average 7:15 minutes. 3 miles under 7 minutes, only one over 8. Could I do this in a race? Only one way to find out…

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